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LabVIEW State Machine Architectures

LabVIEW State Machine Architectures

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LabVIEW State Machine Architectures

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  1. LabVIEW State Machine Architectures Presented By Scott Sirrine Eaton Corporation

  2. State Machines- Personal Background • Employment • Lead Product Engineer (Software development) at Eaton Corporation’s R&D facility in Galesburg MI. • LabVIEW developer for 12 years (version 3.1) • Data Acquisition and Control • NVH • Vehicle bus applications (Can/J1939) • Certifications • Certified LabVIEW Architect since Aug 2003 • Certified LabVIEW Developer Oct 2002 • Education • Master (MSCIS) • Bachelor (BSCIS) • Associate electronics

  3. State Machines- Overview • Discuss the concept of “State Machines” as they pertain to LabVIEW based application development. Focus will be on design considerations and merits for selecting various State Machines models. • Topics • Single loop • Multiple Loops (Asynchronous) • Supporting techniques • Queue • Functional Globals • Multi-threading and performance (comments)

  4. State Machines- Definition • Wikipedia- Model of behavior composed of finite number of states, transitions between those states, and actions. Made up of entry, exit, input, and transition actions. Used quite a bit in UML based modeling (decision trees/flowcharts). • LabVIEW Based State Machine- Decision based execution framework. Based on a While loop used in conjunction with a Case statement and a shift register. Branch control can be enhanced by the use of Events, queues, and functional globals. Note: Due to LabVIEW’s inherent parallelism, execution performance can be further enhanced by the use of multiple state machines running in parallel.

  5. State Machines- Single Loop • This is an example of a basic state machine with a while loop, case statement, and shift register. It has been enhanced slightly to include a event structure for capturing user actions. Uses • Main Application VI • Intermediate VI • VIs with complex execution and decision trees Pros • Easy to implement • Very Scalable • Error handling • Input validation Cons • Additional overhead vs. pass-though • No history • Single exit branch (without adding extra code)

  6. State Machines- Multiple Loops • Multiple execution loops better leverage LabVIEW’s inherent parallelism. • Separate loop for User IO allows the main application to continue acquiring data if program focus passes to a popup window. Uses • Primarily the main application VI Pros • Parallelism • Leverages Multi-core CPU • Asynchronous (potential) Cons • More complex loop interaction • More complex data buffering

  7. State Machines- Multiple Loops cont. • Loop 1- Acquisition, Scaling, and Display updates. • Loop 2- Test Control • Loop 3- User Interface • This is an example of data acquisition, analysis, and control application running 3 asynchronous loops. The application offers better determinism, CPU utilization, and scales well with multiple CPU cores.

  8. State Machines- Multiple Loops cont. • This is an example of vehicle bus acquisition running 3 asynchronous loops. Display updates are performed in a separate loop from the data acquisition. This allows the daq loop to sample data at a faster rate than the real-time display updates. • Loop 1- Acquisition, Scaling, and data logging. • Loop 2- Display updates • Loop 3- User Interface Loop 3 Loop 1 Loop 2

  9. State Machines- Queues Shutdown steps if not logging data. • Queues are located under the “Synchronization” palette and function as a stack (FIFO). A queue can enhance the function of a state machine’s shift register by queuing up multiple actions. In this example assume the VI was acquiringdata and a hardware error occurred. Depending on if the VI was logging data or simply to update displays will determine the states needed for proper shutdown. Without a queue, special states for each of these event would need to be developed, which adds to the VI’s overall size and complexity. Shutdown steps if actively logging data. Pros • Easy to implement • Very Scalable • Simpler states • Multiple exit states Cons • Small amount of extra code

  10. State Machines- Functional Globals • A functional global is simply a VI with a while loop and a case statement with a un-initialized shift register. Because the shit register is un-initialized it retains state as long as the VI is loaded in memory. • These globals do not make multiple memory copies like a “global” variable and can make a very tangible impact on overall memory footprint. • If the functional global’s execution is not set to “Reentrant” there is only one instance in memory and race conditions are avoided. • In the context of the state machine, it can be used to exchange data between the loops. Note: The biggest negative is overuse of FGs goes against the concept of dataflow.

  11. State Machines- The Global Queue • In the earlier Daq/Analysis/Control application each loop uses a queue. To better support inter-loop control, the queues themselves were placed in a functional global. This simplified interaction with the various queues.

  12. State Machines- Conclusion • This presentation is by no means a comprehensive discussion of the concept of state machine, but instead tries to highlight the opportunities offered by LabVIEW to develop powerful application which are not only multi-threaded, but harness multi-core. LabVIEW has served me well in developing stable and fast applications over the years, and hopefully it is proving just as useful to all of you.